Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Advertising Can Be Obnoxious by Morgan Mandel

As I sit in the commuter train on my way to my day job in Downtown Chicago, I can't help but be annoyed. That's because on select cars at varying times, a bunch of signage covers the car. Today, it's the one I'm in. When I glance out the window, it's like looking through a screen door. Apparently, aesthetics aside, Metra has found a way to get advertising dollars, which in this day and age are sorely needed. If it keeps the fares from going up more, it's worth the inconvenience.

When he sees a commercial come on, my DH grabs the remote and flicks to a different channel. I'm more willing to watch, but what drives me crazy is when a short commercial comes on, is followed by a different commercial, and then after the second one, the very same first one appears. At that point I'll get up and let the dog out or do some other chore because it's just too irritating.

As an author, to get my brand out I'm forced to do advertising, which we like to call promotion. How else will the public know that I've so far written three books? So, I do book signings where people will still stop by and say they've never heard of me before. "That's why I'm here," I usually tell them.

I hand out bookmarks, I get reviews and post them, I send out postcards, I do presentations at libraries, I do so much networking online on blogs, egroups, and networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Myspace, sometimes I wonder if I'll ever have time to concentrate on my work in progress.

Lots of authors find the promotion side of the coin obnoxious. Most of the time I have to admit I enjoy it, maybe even too much - Except for those times when I see thirty emails waiting to be opened so I don't miss something important and I just don't have time to open them, or when I just want to spend time with my husband and our dog child, Rascal and I have to tear myself away from the computer and ignore it.

A happy balance would be nice, but in this competitive day and age, somehow that doesn't seem possible.

What about you? Do you enjoy promotion? Or do you consider it obnoxious? Please share.

Morgan Mandel
http://www.morganmandel.com/

18 comments:

kgcummings said...

Hi Morgan, your blog brought a smile to my face on this gray Florida day. I love book signings, but speaking makes my stomach churn, and do back flips! Imagining folks in their underwear does nothing to calm the savage beast either! Any suggestions?

Morgan Mandel said...

I'm getting more used to public speaking than before. I print out what I'm going to speak about and make sure to put in bold the main points. Usually,I'll use that as a guideline and digress. It helps also if you know the crowd you're speaking to and/or know a lot about your subject.

If you start first on panels, that helps to make it easier to do
a program by yourself. Also, if there's money involved, it's a good confidence building because it means the person in charge thought you were worth the investment.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I love giving presentations, just did one for the Rotary Club. All the "important" people in the closest big town (not really very big) seem to be in this organization. I sat next to a judge. I was treated royally. Only sold about 6 books, but since most people had to rush back to work since the meeting was at lunch time this wasn't too bad.

Marilyn
http://fictionforyou.com

Katie Hines said...

TBH, I can't stand the promotional aspect of publication. Perhaps once I get to do book signings and school visits that will help (book soon to be released), but I have done a bunch of online promo that will hopefully pay off. My WIP definitely suffers, and sometimes it will take me two hours to open to emails and respond. By the time I'm done, I don't feel inspired at all. Glad you enjoy the promo aspects!

K. A. Laity said...

I love doing readings and I love talking about my work, or about writing, and I have no trouble speaking for a purpose (I'm an English professor), but I resent the time it takes to do promotion. My time is short enough as it is; I do some promo, but I think it's a better use of my time to write.

Hence the obscurity, LOL. So it goes.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Some I like, some I dislike. What I dislike most is the time it takes to research events and set them up. Like Katie, by the time I'm finished, I don't feel inspired at all.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Timely post Morgan!

"Annoying"
"Necessary Evil"
"Time Consuming"

Yeah, I can think of a few words for promoting!

I really enjoy most of it, especially when it involves real life activities. It's the detail grudge work that drives me insane. Like making sure I have a listing for an upcoming bookstore appearance in as many of that city's media sources as possible. Gosh, that can take almost two hours sometimes!

Rob Walker said...

Wruters wrute 0N an ON and that is what we do; painters paint, sculptors sculpt...and all of them would much prefer interacting with thier tools and materials, fashioning art than selling it. We all have a good bit of Van Gogh in us, enough that we are not business folks but rather artistic folks, and like singers, musicians, and such, we'd much prefer being ourselves and caught up in the passion of creation over the far less art and science of selling our wares. This is why so many artists have agents and siblings supporting them and doing so much backstage for them. But in the last decade for sure, I have had to do far, far more pushing my work than crafting my work. I have had to enjoy it because it is mmy work I talk to the public about and it is my pride in my work that allows me to be pushy bout pushin it on a complete stranger. Humor and a winning attitude goes a long way to help in matters of signings and speaking engagements, but what really helps so much for writers are the conferences. Nothing better.

Dorothy Thompson said...

LOL, well I guess you know which side of the coin I'm on. I love love love promotion.

Terry Odell said...

It's definitely a necessary part of the business -- it's just tough when you have no backing, no budget, and quite likely, no experience.

But it's all about getting one's name out there so the first questions someone asks when they find out you're a writer won't be, "Oh. Have I heard of you?"

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Morgan,
Great blog. I find promoting very hard, but I know it is an essential part of being a writer, I just wishe I was better at it.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Honestly, if I was back at square one, I would promote less and write more. I enjoyed the promo activities and probably spent more time and money that I should have. I think I could have achieved the same lousy results with half the effort. LOL

Charlotte Phillips said...

Hi Morgan,

I think it's safe to say that marketing and promotion are NOT my favorite parts of the writing business. I do understand it has to be done, though. (How else will anyone know our books exist?) So I push myself out there. Once an event begins, however, I love meeting and talking to readers - ever readers who don't read suspenseful mysteries like the Eva Baum series:-).
Charlotte Phillips
Hacksaw
A Box of Texas Chocolates
A Death in Texas

Deb Larson said...

Promoting is not my favorite either. I do enjoy chatting with folks at book signings or author chats. Setting up a schedule is probably the hardest for me. If someone else did that, I'd be okay with the rest of promotion.
Great blog!!

Sally_Odgers said...

I don't mind promoting, but after 37 years in the business it is increasingly difficult to get anyone to pay attention. When I write a(nother) book it isn't News. My father gets annoyed when he sees other authors interviews on TV or hears them on the radio. "She's written FIVE books!" he says. "She's doing a NATIONAL TOUR!" The subtext is that I, his daughter, have written 280 books... so where is MY National Tour! He also wants to know why the TV people don't interview me... Well, they did, once, back in 1987. That, it seems, was my lot.

Sally_Odgers said...

I don't mind promoting, but after 37 years in the business it is increasingly difficult to get anyone to pay attention. When I write a(nother) book it isn't News. My father gets annoyed when he sees other authors interviews on TV or hears them on the radio. "She's written FIVE books!" he says. "She's doing a NATIONAL TOUR!" The subtext is that I, his daughter, have written 280 books... so where is MY National Tour! He also wants to know why the TV people don't interview me... Well, they did, once, back in 1987. That, it seems, was my lot.

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